Chapter 15 : Crying In The Dark
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“You’re such a fuck-up, Harry….”
Harry was talking aloud to himself, pacing up and down in the cosy sitting room. Everything, everyone he touched, just took a turn to the worse. He rubbed his forehead; the scar was gone, but the Curse lived on. He shut his eyes, feeling a dark power build inside of him. Why did this happen? How could he have allowed this to happen? He was supposedly the fucking boy who lived -a big fucking ‘hero’! How the fuck could he let a stupid little girl do this to him!?
Frustration built up inside of him, the inclination to destroy something literally radiating his magic in waves. Taking a two handed grip on the roots of his hair, he clenched his fists, just wanting to self-explode.
Letting it all loose, he screamed.
The furniture in the prefects lounge suddenly exploded in a cacophony popping cushions and shattered wood. The dishes in the kitchenette shattered in a shower of glass and ceramic, the doors and drawers of the counter and dish cabinet imploding in with a sharp crunch! The uncontrolled release of the Reductor curse destroyed everything that wasn’t solid enough to absorb the concussive wave of energy. The potions cauldron ricocheted against the wall, splashing its contents all over the ceiling and floor. Stuffing from the couches and chairs danced about him, the pure static energy emanating from him causing the tufts of sponge and feathers to fall erratically to the ground. He kicked the remnants of the coffee table in uncontrollable anger and it broke apart into tiny shards of wood.
“YOU DUMB FUCK!! SHE LOVED YOU!! AND YOU FUCKING BLEW IT!!” he screamed, his self-control lost.
He could feel magic surging through him like it did that time against Voldemort…raw, unnatural magic, and strength that was not his surged through his veins. He spun around and struck the three foot thick wall with his fist, a deep resonating sound echoing through the empty room adjacent. Picking up the broken couch he flung it at the opposite wall, and it flew straight out the entryway to the prefects lounge. He screamed again in frustration. This was not enough. Harry’s eyes pulsed brightly as he strode out of the room.
Inanimate objects were a bloody fucking waste of time.
He stormed down the hallways, the fire from the torches lining the corridors flaring to double their size as he passed. He took a left at the Gryffindor common room, then the next right, then ran down the west end balcony. He marched up to the old armory and the door blew itself in as he approached, making a terrible racket as it crashed into spider-infested suits of metal. There was a threatening growl from the other room, and Harry smiled in anticipation.
Good. I want him nice and angry.
Hermione was alone in the library, crouched in the furthest section from the entrance, the semi-enclosed shelving towering around her. Tears still rolled down her face as she leant against the corner of the wall-to-wall bookshelves, clutching her most prized possession in her hand.
The Halo of Life shimmered softly in the deserted library, giving off warmth and radiance to her broken heart. She just couldn’t believe what happened. That- that couldn’t be the Harry she loved, the boy she loved will never hurt her like that, he said so himself. But this Harry, this Harry managed to cause her more pain that she could bear. What did she sacrifice herself for? Who am I? Who was this person who would give up her life to resurrect another? Am I just another girl in Harry’s eyes? Or is Kenna what Harry wanted, and not her?
….Why did he do this to me?
The power of the magical Halo glowed around her, and in her very hands she held a fraction of the life energy of Harry Potter, and to an extent, Draco Malfoy. She could feel Harry’s presence even stronger through the magical object, and she sobbed as the damning actions in Harry’s memories kept repeating themselves over and over. Raw emotions flooded through her, triggering the Halo to glow even brighter. An overwhelming aura of Forbidden Holy Magic emanated from it, the sacrificial spells of Lily Potter, Narcissa Malfoy were once channeled through the beautiful ornament. She held it against her chest; her love for Lily’s son infusing her with the power of the ancient magic.
That night, under the cloudless sky outside Cho’s house, like those two witches before her, Hermione had decided her fate. She knew that the Halo was given to her for a very specific reason, and that Harry’s life depended on her. It had taken her only a few minutes to make a decision, and she had never regretted making that sacrifce.
But now… it was all too much. Harry had betrayed her, and her life now felt cheapened by his actions.
Remus Lupin was trudging up the main staircase, his body aching, yet still he had that welcoming feeling of relief that his transformation and the aftermath was behind him for now. He was pale- and a bit worse for wear, but inside he felt great.
He couldn’t wait to see Nymphadora again. He took a right at Professor Flitwick’s Charms class towards the spare room further down the hall. He whistled merrily as he bounced along. For the first time he felt happy since Sirius died. He would have to talk with Tonks first thing in the morning, this time he wouldn’t let the woman he loved slip through his fingers.
A loud yelp of pain shot through the walls, followed by laughter. He froze suddenly, that sounded like a dog. There weren’t any dogs at Hogwarts, unless…
He ran through the busted door of the armory and into the adjacent room. At the doorway he stopped dead in his tracks, he couldn’t believe it. Harry Potter stood in the middle of the room, his fists bloodied and clenched at his sides, huge scrape marks all over him. Fluffy was cowering in the corner, whimpering as all three heads licked the broken hind leg. Its tormentor was grinning like a madman, his eyes glowing white. He approached the injured beast and Fluffly stuck its tail between his legs, scuttling away in fear. It cowered back into its corner, and watched him fearfully out of its six eyes.
“HARRY!!” Remus shouted at him. “What did you do to the poor beast?!”
“Nothing,” Harry growled. “Just…nothing,” He looked somberly at his own two hands, his eyes hardening in a mixture of self satisfaction and self loathing. That is for my back, you oversized mutt...
“What the hell are you doing, how did you manage to-” Remus looked worriedly at the whimpering dog. “Don’t let this happen again Potter, you have to keep your temper in check, don’t let your emotions control you, for a wizard, that is as good as playing with live explosives, you know that better than most,” Remus said angrily. Harry closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths, calming himself down.
“I have to find a way to get Hermione back,” he said softly.
Remus looked at him in astonishment. “What? What do you mean get her back, it’s obvious she loves you, and I’m sure you feel the same. What happened?
“I was cheating on her with Kenna Malfoy,” he said flatly. Remus abruptly closed his mouth. What was he to say to a thing like that?”
“You can’t be serious,” Remus frowned at him. Harry ran his hands through his hair, and Remus could see the fresh wounds on Harry’s chest and arms heal right before his eyes.
“She has some power over me, it’s like I lose control whenever I’m around her,” he explained, clearly frustrated. Remus looked at him with mild curiosity.
“That’s news. She seemed pretty harmless to me.”
Harry laughed out loud, did Remus just say ‘harmless’? Lordy…
“Yeah, well she’s not, and I think I just ruined any chance I had with Hermione. Damn it to hell...I’m such a piece of shit. I don’t deserve her,” he muttered, his hands on his face. He pushed his fingers back up through his hair again, and he blinked at what he did to a once proud animal. Fluffy was still licking that nasty gash on its side, and the broken hind leg looked really painful. “I’m really bad luck, pretty much fucked everything up right good and proper. Ask anyone, it isn’t safe to be linked to famous Harry Potter these days…” he joked in self disgust, but Remus saw it in his eyes that Harry was under large amounts of stress and the last comment he made out of jest really was bothering him. Remus walked up to him, and put a brotherly hand on his shoulder.
“C’mon, no one knows how that feels better than I. What is the story? Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll be able to get her back,” he encouraged. Harry smiled in gratitude; this is what he was lacking whole summer up till now: someone he could talk to; someone who would listen.
Harry slept under tree on the lake’s edge that night, he needed some space to really soak in what Remus just told him. The chill night air blew over his bare skin, and he stared up at the new moon. Remus told him what he knew all along: that the truth would set him free.
It sounds so simple, but Hermione wouldn’t believe that Kenna was an enchantress, that sounded like an excuse.
Or would she?
But he knew what he felt during those spells of lust for Kenna was real, even though he did not willingly bring it on. Like she had some huge magnifying glass, and any spark of interest he had in her she managed to multiply it so that he was a frenzied sex-craved monster. It swamped him completely, and no Occlumens in the world could tell the difference between what he was telling himself to do in his head and what was happening right before his eyes. And him ripping open Kenna’s shirt did not look well on his “I am Innocent” record. Sighing loudly, he felt really bad for beating up Fluffy now, if it weren’t for the slashes on his back, he would have shagged Rossilini right then and there in the Potions class.
Damn he had wanted to at the time.
No, not good to think about that. He had to find a way to counteract that spell! That was the first item on the list. Secondly he had to make Hermione realize that Kenna has this strange power to control him.
But how could he make her understand?
He plotted for a while, but the simplest conclusion was the only plausible course of action. He would just have to tell her, and hope that she believed him. He folded his arms behind his head, and slept under the tree on the eastern bank, staring up at starry night sky until he fell asleep.
The hours rolled on, and Harry was not the only one missing from the Gryffindor dorms. Hermione still clutched the large ring of gold, idly rubbing the huge crystal embedded in the front. Her jumbled thoughts were making more sense now, and her rationale was once again at work. Why couldn’t I sense that he was drawing further and further away from me ever since he woke up? Am I that naïve? We never even walked to class together, he always vanishes from the lunch room after Kenna finishes lessons with Cho, and he doesn’t even try to touch me anymore. It was as if he didn’t want to be near me….
She sniffed back tears, and curled up in the corner, hugging her legs to her chest, her chin resting on her knees. She stayed in that position whole night, silently enduring the heartache. God, why did you make me fall in love with someone who doesn’t love me back?
Doholov was looking out the window into the night sky, Macnair was late, and he was growing impatient. He stood at the large open window at the abandoned Cathedral. He loved this place, the painted glass, the piped musical instrument, the whole pious atmosphere of being able to see for miles green fields in al directions. .He had loved seeing the muggle Holy man beg for his Lord while they had fun dismembering him.
Ah…. Sometimes a spot of muggle killing went a long way to lighten the mood.. He whisked away the memory, they were still a way from finishing the task and getting comfortable.
“Snape, you’re sure you have your man under control? I don’t want his cover blown so soon,” Antolin said offhandedly, once again peering outside. “That is key to the plan.”
Godfrey Snape looked up from pensieve in front of him, and smiled. “Oh yes, he is fully under control. Have no fear.”
“Pettigrew, you are ready?” Antolin questioned.
“R-ready and w-willing,” the diminutive man said. Doholov snickered, not even facing him. Pathetic- but he had his uses.
He saw three tiny shapes emerge from the distance night sky and smiled. Finally, his beast master was back. And it seems his trek was successful. “Hunters,” he addressed them. Two shapes emerged from the shadows, scaring Pettigrew half to death.
“What if the Dumbledore and his Order comes for us?”
“Then we shall do what we do best. We are prepared.”
“Excellent. Our man of the hour has arrived. Let us greet him shall we?” he paced out of the large doors, and looked up into the night sky. He heard the massive rush of air moments before he could make out the three shapes in the night sky. Rookwood and Lestrange smiled, their eager expressions visible even in the darkness. The smell came next, then the sight of their scaly underbellies filled their whole vision. Three huge dragons swooped low and landed directly in front of the cathedral, and the human rider jumped off the largest one’s neck. There was a strange feeling in the air, two of the dragons breath were hot and rancid, while the largest one’s breath was deathly cold. Antolin smiled widely, Macnair knew his pets well.
“Good evening, my friend,” Doholov greeted warmly. “Happy hunting trip I take it?’ he asked.
“Oh the Alaskan Leviathan here was a bit tricky, but I love a challenge,” Macnair declared with a grin. He cooed at the sea-green Ice Dragon and it bowed its head for him to affectionately pet his freezing nose. “When do we leave?”
“Patience, my friend, patience,” Doholov said. “We analyze the enemy, and strike when we have the most chance of success. Unlike our late master, we do not want unnecessary casualties again, remember poor Avery. Barely had anything left of him to bury. With that sad note,” He smiled in afterthought- even so, skewered by the Sword of Gryffindor was a noble way to die. “We deserve a drink. Come in, I have some from the Ukraine, supposedly very good….”
Macnair followed them in, fingering the axe that he held in his frostbitten hands, a wicked smile on his face.
Avery, I will avenge your death.
“All right, you can do this.”
Harry was giving himself a little prep talk, looking at the reflection in the vanity mirror in the Gryffindor bathroom the following morning. It was Saturday, and everyone was out and about enjoying the great sunshine. He had snuck in unnoticed, and showered and put on some of his best wizarding robes. He glanced at the dirty jeans he had on before, eyeing the slashes and blood peppered on it. That will definitely have to go. He had shaved off any scraggily hairs of his beard and his faint mustache, and trimmed his once long hair to what it used to be in his third year. It stuck up at all angles , and no matter what he tried, it did not lie flat. Nothing unusual.
“Evanesco,” he muttered, pointing his wand at the bathroom sink. All the trimmings vanished, and he rubbed his face to make sure it was smooth of any stray hairs. He looked at his forehead in the mirror, after sixteen years of seeing a lightning shaped scar there, seeing nothing there was a reminder of what he had to go through to get rid of Voldemort. He smiled, if that could not give him confidence, what can? Feeling like a new man, he set out with the Marauder’s map to find Hermione and tell her everything.
Hermione was outside, walking along the far bank of the Hogwarts lake. She needed a bit of solitude to sort things out. This was all a part of life, love, friendship, and heartbreak. But when it was so closely intertwined as it was in her case, it was not possible to look at it as simple as that. To her, it just is and no amount of reading or research could prepare you for it. Live and let live. She had just passed the spot where Harry had saved all of them from the Dementors in his third year, and another pang of intense emotion touched her.
She smiled, she may know spells than her classmates, but Harry instinctively was one with his magic, he always found a way, a true wizard in every sense. And even if things weren’t looking up for them, he would always be her hero.
Harry was standing in the middle of the hall, looking perplexed as he gazed into the old bit of parchment in his hands. There were dots swarming all over the map, but none of them was labeled “Hermione Granger.” He frowned, where was she? Spotting Padma and Lavender walking further ahead he called out to them.
“Hey, Lavender, Padma.. or is it Parvati..?” he faltered. “Er-..”
They turned and looked at him. “Hey Harry, wow, you look so much nicer with your hair cut, what’s the occasion?” Padma answered.
“Umm- have you seen Hermione?” he asked tentatively.
They both glanced at each other in an unsaid agreement, and both answered, “No, sorry.”
“Okay, umm- well, if you do see her, tell her I’m looking for her okay?” he asked.
“Sure,” they lied, both of them giving him a cold look. “See ya,” they said, and walked off.
Harry frowned, did everyone know? Shit. He went off again in search for her, asking some of their mutual friends if they saw her. The guys genuinely did not know where she was, but said helpfully that they’ll relay on the message. The girls on the other hand, had one of two responses. Either they gave him a similar look and cold demeanour, or they were blatantly flirting with him. After about the fourth come on he decided he wasn’t getting anywhere. Peering down at the map again, he moved his thumb from the edge, and saw her walking from the edge of the grounds towards Hagrid’s hut near the forbidden forest. Hagrid was walking towards the castle, and everyone else was either on the quidditch pitch or on the other side of the lake, near the tree he slept underneath last night.
“Yes! Finally!” He strode out unto the sloping grounds, and made for an intercept course towards Hermione. Hagrid was walking up to the castle, and spotted him coming down.
“Allright ‘Arry?” Hagrid beamed, grinning up at him.
“Hagrid! How are you?”
“Jus’ fine, what’s wrong with Hermione? She looks really down,” Hagrid asked, his tone full with concern.
Harry pursed his lips. “ Er- did you speak to her?”
“No, but saw her walkin’ by her lonseome this mornin’, and found it strange. She hasn’t left your side since you came back, so I was jus’ looking out for ‘er,” he said from behind his bushy beard.
“I have to talk to her,” Harry said, and Hagrid nodded in understanding.
“Got’s some work to do, ‘arry, visit me sometime.”
“Sure,” Harry responded, he continued towards Hagrid’s hut.
Hermione loved this place, it was so peaceful, away from everything. A playful gust of wind swept over the lake and she reached up to put back a lock of hair that breezed gently across her vision, tucking it behind her ear. She felt his presence drawing closer, and looked up past Hagrid’s hut. Harry was coming towards her, and she paused. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to talk to him now, she needed some time for herself.
Harry sucked in his breath, he had seen that unconscious act Hermione did, and he could not believe how beautiful she looked with the water sparkling behind her and the breeze playing with her hair. She was wearing witch’s robes, and the light airy blouse and close fitting long pants really made her seem even more angelic. She paused, and looked at him. Harry could tell she was debating if she wanted to talk to him or not, and the fact hat her mannerisms were so hesitant and uncertain made his self-confidence waver.
Maybe now wasn’t the best time, maybe I should turn back...
He paused midstride, coming at a halt awkwardly. They were standing far apart, both looking at each other in an unsure way, not completely certain who should make the first step. Harry could actually feel her presence calm him, and his anxiety ebbed away. This was right, they were meant to be together, and he would be damned if he lost yet another loved one. Approaching her, he smiled. Hermione’s heart almost melted. He looked so cute with his hair sticking up at all angles as it had done before, before his fifth year when Voldemort returned. He had changed though, his jawline was harder, he had sprung up- probably just shy of six feet, and it was obvious that he had put on muscle, but yet he still managed to keep that boyish charm about him. With his hair cut short, all the memories of the good times they had together flooded back into her.
“Hey,” he said, looking contrite.
“Hello,” Hermione said coolly. “What are you doing here?” she asked nonchalantly. Harry bristled from her response, he did not expect this sort of aloofness.
“You deserve an explanation, and I wanted to talk to you,” he said, fidgeting a bit.
Okay, this was not working out the way I planned. Taking a deep breath, he mentally repeated his pep talk to himself.
“I know I haven’t said much about what happened after- after, well you know...my birthday…” he faltered, it was hard to bring back that night.
“I realize.” Hermione answered.
“You have to understand, I’m not.. uhh good with expressing my feelings and stuff , I’ve never really had someone to talk to about things like this…well except you and Ron..but it’s different when we’re just friends, and Ron is kind of not the best person for advice, even though he’s my boy and all, and it’s not the same as like Sirius, even though most of the time I talked to him through the post, and not really face to face..well now he’s gone but I.. and well I know I could always talk with you, but I could honestly say that I wasn’t planning on coming back to school.. “
Harry drew a deep breath, he knew he was babbling, and made a conscious effort to stop.
“What I’m trying to say is- I missed you all this while and it hurt like hell, but it hurt even more to see you in the hospital like that..with all those potions pumping in you and looking so sick..and it was all my fault...and your dad and all..”
Hermione just stared at him, her expression neutral.
“Umm- yeah, okay back to the real reason why I came here… umm… Kenna is an enchantress. I swear, I did not want anything to do with her,” he blurted out.
“Kenna is an enchantress.” Hermione said flatly, her face neutral.
“Yes,” Harry answered, relieved that Hermione caught on instantly.
“You mean to tell me that you found a girl who never knew she was a witch, who also just happens to be an enchantress, which takes many years of practice and numerous love potions to achieve, who then in turns out to be Draco’s sister, who , as I mention his name, somehow knew all about of your frolicking around with her... along with everyone else we know, excepting me, might I add, who just happens to be the last person to find out, making me look like a fool-“
“No wait- It wasn’t like that-!”
“Excuse me- Let me finish. So for the two months we’ve been apart and you’ve been frolicking around with this blond slut, you only decide to come now; after I’ve found out from going inside of your head, and you come up with this shitty excuse that she’s an enchantress ….” She stared at him majestically, giving him her most condescending look. “Very good- I commend your skill, just like a man to blame it on the woman. Harry, thank you, you have been very enlightening,” she said evenly, and brushed passed him.
Harry could not believe his ears, did she just accuse him of “frolicking around”?! What the fuck? Did she think I wanted to leave? He held her by her arm as she walked passed him, and he said quietly:
“I told you before, you don’t know what it was like to be there-“
“You didn’t know how it was like to be without you, not knowing if you were alive or dead!! Why couldn’t you write, or tell me something Harry!! Don’t you see? I don’t care if there’s danger, I care about us! I wanted us to be together, I did everything for you! And now you go behind my back with this girl! How do you think that makes me feel inside?’ she pleaded.
“You don’t understand! I’m not myself when she’s-“
“When she’s spreading her legs on top of you, or under you, or however you two do it,” she snarled, feeling her rage boil up in her.
“We didn’t have sex, Hermione, listen, I love you and-“
Harry’s face stung with the blow, and Hermione’s expression changed rapidly from indignant anger to a mixture of shock and a bit of regret. She couldn’t believe she had just slapped him, but she did.
“If you loved me, you would not have done this…” she said shakily, her voice breaking up as she ran off, tears once again flowing down her face.
Harry watched her run off, resting his fingers against his stinging cheek. What was he to do now?
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